Surviving the South Pacific, Episode 1: White & Nerdyby David Bloomberg -- 09/15/2011
I’m sure many people will come into this season expecting puns and metaphors comparing this South Pacific season of Survivor to South Pacific the musical and movie. While I do believe I may have actually seen the musical at one point at a dinner theater while I was in college, that was perhaps more years ago than I’d care to admit. So basically what I’m telling you is that you shouldn’t expect too much from me in that regard. The only thing I can think of off the top of my head is the song that goes, “I’m gonna wash that man right out of my hair,” which would seem rather apt for the first guy who gets voted out, but I also suspect it’s already been used too many times to count around the internet. So I think I’ll skip it.
With that prelude out of the way, it’s Survivor time! Tonight marks the official changing of the seasons! No, I’m not talking about summer giving way to autumn, but rather Big Brother passing the torch to Survivor on CBS. The RNO staff is ready for another season, and we’ve already made our usual predictions about how each player will do.
I will note that I picked Jim before I had my suspicions confirmed that his poker playing success has been rather exaggerated. As Paul Harris noted his radio show, The Final Table, this week, Jim did indeed win a tournament sponsored by the World Poker Tour – but it wasn’t what most people would call “a WPT tournament.” That is, when most people talk about the WPT, they think of the main events that are put on TV. This was a preliminary event with a smaller buy-in. Also, Paul Harris confirmed something I had noted, which is that the “Hendon Mob” database that tracks poker players’ wins, shows only a few tournament cashes for Jim, not the 40 that was claimed for him. So apparently, by ignoring my initial suspicions, Jim bluffed me. Maybe that’s a good sign and he’ll be able to bluff his fellow competitors right into handing him a million dollars. We’re a long way away from that, though!
OK, enough with this preliminary stuff – it’s time for Survivor to begin! We start with Ozzy and Coach flying in via helicopter. Coach tells us he needs to control his self-righteousness. Ya think? He wants to prove this game can be won with honor and integrity. I say it can’t – not 100%, anyway. Ozzy admits he’s been the hunter and challenge god, but not such a great strategist. Again, ya think? He believes he’s more mature now and has learned from his mistakes. I bet he hasn’t – not fully, anyway.
The new contestants have to row their way in and the first person we meet is John Cochrane, a true Survivor geek who, like yours truly, has never missed an episode. He even wrote an award-winning essay about the game in law school. Elyse hopes that her ancestral Native American background will somehow help her to survive. Rick owns his own Utah ranch and dresses the part. He says if you didn’t train before you got here, “you might as well spit in the wind.” I can already tell he will be a source for great quotes.
Stacey is a funeral director and mortician with four kids. She will have her eyes and ears open, be awake when others think she’s sleeping, and be nosy. Next we meet Russell Hantz’s nephew, Brandon. He compares it to being related to Hitler. I’m thinking 6,000,000 Jews and many millions of others might disagree with the comparison. But in any case, he acknowledges that most people wouldn’t go around admitting to being related to Russell, but he came out to redeem the Hantz family name.
Jeff Probst makes his appearance to tell us the usual about contestants creating a society and adapting or getting voted out. Then he gives us the words we’ve been waiting for all summer:
The contestants arrive at the beach, mostly dressed in street/work clothes, and are welcomed by Probst. They’ve been divided into two tribes but then Coach and Ozzy are flown in. Brandon says he’s a little nervous to see who it might be, and Edna giggles to him that she hopes it’s not Russell. Brandon says that would suck. Heh. He tells us he’s never telling them who he is, but knows he has to keep his shirt on because he has two tattoos of his last name! Good luck with that, Brandon.
Ozzy steps out first and Mikayla (I think) says she hopes he’s on their tribe because “he can fish like a son of a gun.” Coach follows him and Mikayala isn’t nearly as excited for his looniness.
Probst asks Christine for her reaction and she immediately calls Coach “the Dragon Warrior” (no, it’s “Dragonslayer”), saying it’s good to see them. Probst draws out of her that she believes they are “temporary players,” earning an “ouch” from tribemate Mark (who had just been telling his tribemates to welcome the returning players are part of the family – Christine obviously didn’t listen!).
John is asked next but he immediately requests that Probst call him by his last name, Cochran, because all the memorable and great players were called by their last names. Probst seems obliging enough (I was wondering why he was referring to John by his last name all the time on Twitter and Facebook – now I know). Anyway, Cochran’s reaction is that they both played twice and have so much knowledge and will be huge assets. Probst notes that Cochran didn’t even hesitate in saying they both played twice before – Cochran notes that he’s a huge fan with a buff collection at home and he’s just flat-out thrilled to see Ozzy and Coach.
Ozzy and Coach pull out eggs containing colored paint to designate their tribes. Ozzy is on Savaii while Coach gets Upolu. Cochran is thrilled! Rick is less than thrilled to have Coach on his tribe, though. He’s never seen a dragonslayer and there aren’t any dragons – he even notes Coach is in his 40s, hinting he needs to grow up.
Coach already doesn’t feel a good vibe from his tribe. Christine had called him “temporary” and is shooting daggers out of her eyes. He needs twice as much charm as usual. But Ozzy is welcomed in an embrace and feels warmly-received.
Probst explains that Redemption Island is in play again and goes over a summary of how it works. But for now, Probst has a surprise – the first challenge is just Ozzy vs. Coach. Coach is dead – and I haven’t even seen what the challenge is yet! They have to climb to the top of a 12-foot-pole (so far, Ozzy will kick his ass – he climbed trees all the time on previous seasons!) and retrieve a wooden turtle (yes, you read that right). Then they have to crawl through sand under a log and transfer a pyramid puzzle across a series of tables by moving only one piece at a time and always putting smaller pieces on top of larger ones. First person to do it and put the turtle on top wins reward – taro root and flint to begin the game.
And they’re off! As I figured, Ozzy grabs the turtle first, but Coach isn’t too far behind. Both are digging in the sand, but Ozzy gets through first while Coach is getting a bit stuck. He’s through a few seconds later. Both are working on the puzzle. Ozzy gets in trouble for moving more than one piece at a time. Coach gets in trouble for putting a bigger piece on top of a smaller one. Ozzy looks a bit flustered and asks his tribe for help. Jim obliges and starts calling out directions. Coach looks to his tribe for similar help and has several people telling him what to do.
Ozzy seems to be in the lead, as he has the base of his pyramid on the finish table. But Upolu seems to just be confusing Coach’s positioning. Ozzy is on a roll and definitely heading towards a win. Coach is nowhere near finishing when Ozzy gets it done. High fives all around Savaii! Ozzy says he couldn’t have done it without his tribemates.
Probst sends both tribes to their respective camps. Savaii leaves as a happy group. Most of Upolu just leaves while Coach still needs to pick up his stuff. But Edna stays behind and offers help, something Coach definitely notices.
Savaii arrives at camp, all cheering and smiles. Ozzy tells us it’s nice to know what’s ahead. A new tribe looking at him wants him to tell them what to do. But he’s trying to be strategic this time.
The tribe takes turns introducing themselves. At Mark’s urging, Semhar gives us some spoken word artistry. I hope it’s the last time we hear it (but I doubt that very much). She tells us she had to step up because she was challenged, and it shows people they can trust her. Um. What? It just shows me that she can recite poetry.
But what do I know? Ozzy says he likes Semhar, she’s beautiful, and he respects her passion. He’d like to have somebody like her alongside him for the long haul. I’m thinking that whole strategy thing he was talking about just went out the window ‘cus he found a pretty girl.
Ozzy tells them this is the best tribe ever and they shouldn’t work too hard. They already have an advantage, so they can relax a bit – time to go swimming! Cochran isn’t thrilled with stripping down to his skivvies to hit the water, but he’s encouraged by Whitney. Hey, Cochran, I have some advice: When a pretty young country singer tells you to strip – do it! But Cochran says somebody like Keith has nothing to be ashamed of while he has “translucent skin” and he’ll “look like more of a pathetic twerp” than he does with his clothes on. Ha! Can I tell you how much I want Cochran to stick around for a long, long time?
As he continues to talk about it, I’m surprised the producers didn’t buy the rights to use Weird Al Yankovic’s “White and Nerdy” as background music. Indeed, Cochran tells us he looks different from everybody else – the tribe is made up of a “bevy of beautiful bikini babes.” He continues, “If this is the 90210 tribe, I’m definitely one of the zeroes.” But he decides to join the fun and run into the water with everybody else.
Things aren’t nearly as much fun at Upolu. They arrive and Coach knows he has to come face to face with his fear of being voted out first. He does this by telling the others that he doesn’t want them to look at him as a threat because he’s not a strategic player (he’s got that right, at least). He has always been too straight, if anything. He’s sorry he lost the challenge but he’s happy that it felt like a team effort.
Christine asks for introductions so they’ll know who might have experience in building shelters and the like. Rick is a rancher, as we the viewers already know. Albert is a baseball coach (he doesn’t mention the “dating coach” part). Sophie just graduated college in Russian and economics. Coach exchanges a few words with her in Russian, which the producers helpfully (more like amusingly) subtitle for us – in Russian!
After that, it’s time to start building the shelter. They all pitch in, with Rick throwing out amusing comment after amusing comment (such as saying one noise sounds like two squirrels making love). Edna tells us she likes Coach and thinks he’s an asset for now.
Christine, however, is looking for a different type of asset. She heads off to supposedly look for firewood, but she’s actually already looking for a hidden immunity idol, as she’s a big fan and figures there should be one somewhere around here. She’s not nearly as secretive as she thinks, though, as Coach and at least one other tribe member talk openly, when she’s not around, about how she’s doing it. Coach puts her as “target number one.”
Back at Savaii, Jim is enjoying the view – both of the beautiful beach and the beautiful women in his tribe. But when he’s asked what he does for a living, he lies and says he teaches forensic science in high school rather than acknowledging he sells medical marijuana and plays poker.
Somebody asks who’s married and Mark says he has a… boyfriend. He’s been gay his whole life and he wants to help pave the way for cops who are still serving (he’s retired). He helps nickname himself “Papa Bear.”
With break time over, they decide to build a fire and get some water. Dawn, who is still completely dressed and on the beach, tells us she had hoped to be in a tribe that is completely organized and they would have the shelter done. She admits to the others that every time she watches and they don’t have the shelter done on the first day, there’s trouble. Ozzy and Whitney tell her not to worry. Ozzy adds that as long as it doesn’t rain tonight, he’s happy sleeping on the ground.
But Dawn, who has six kids and is used to being in charge, is looking for a leader. To her, Ozzy is too much Bob Marley.
Heading back to Upolu, we find Coach and Mikayla asking Brandon about the “loco” tattoo on his neck. He tells them he’s actually ashamed of that one (it means “crazy” in Spanish, in case you didn’t know – but you probably did). He admits it was a childish thing to get that tattoo and he was a bit crazy when he was younger – even bullying other kids in high school to be more like Uncle Russell – but he’s not like that now. God is number one for him.
Mikayla hops up on some branches to help out with the shelter, telling us you can’t worry about being a princess – you just need to get the job done. But Brandon doesn’t feel comfortable around her, as she’s too flaunty for her. He grew up in the church, strayed a bit, but has found God again. He won’t put himself into a situation that could cause him trouble. So apparently, Brandon has zero self-control when it comes to women.
Night falls and five of the Upoluns are sitting on the beach under the stars, just getting to know one another. Christine doesn’t seem to be with them because, you know, it sounds like it might be fun. Coach just wants them to win every immunity challenge. Even if they don’t, if they have a strong five, they can go very far in this game, even if they don’t have numbers at the merge. He tells us this will be the only chance in the game to get the five of them together in a group like this, so he’s taking a shot.
Albert seems to be on board, saying this group constitutes those he’s gotten the best vibe out of. Sophie and Brandon are in as well. I can’t quite tell who number five is, but Coach says first-day alliances are the most solid. Now they have peace of mind and can just have fun.
The next morning, on Savaii, Dawn is trying to boil water but spills the pot. She tells us she didn’t sleep and is already having a mini-breakdown. The tears already start coming as she tells Mark how she’s feeling dehydrated (crying won’t help that situation!). Mark tells her she needs to be strong because the two of them are the oldest and the younger ones will turn on them. Dawn tells us this very fact may be part of what’s weighing on her – she feels old for the first time in forever.
Dawn tries to help out with getting vines (I think that’s what she’s doing) and falls, but says she’s okay. Emotionally, however, it’s just one more thing, and she ends up crying in front of Ozzy and telling him how she’s already emotionally spent. He tries to comfort her, though I have to say he could really use some help with his bedside manner. Things are not made better by Dawn recognizing that “the person who has the breakdown” is often the one voted out right away.
Mark tells us that Dawn is worrying him because crying is viewed as a weakness. Still, he won’t turn his back on her. “Everybody has emotions.” Dawn continues talking to Ozzy, saying she’s so much older than the others and she has no common ground with them. Ozzy says all the right things, insisting that it doesn’t matter, etc. It doesn’t sound to me like he means it – again, that bedside manner thing.
But he does tell her that as long as she doesn’t quit, as long as she keeps fighting, she has what it takes. She needs to confront whatever is inside of her that’s unsure and tell it to get out. He tells us she’s frazzled and very paranoid, but whatever he can do to calm her nerves is his job – he’s the anchor. She needs to get out of her own head and trust him. If she can do that, she can be a crucial ally. If not, she may well be headed home.
Day 3 at Savaii, Semhar is teaching her tribemates how to use branches as a toothbrush and how to make toothpaste out of ash. Okay then! Meanwhile, Ozzy figures it’s time to start getting everything together. He knows he’ll be okay, but he doesn’t want the elements, stress, and hunger to take a big toll on the others. They need to keep a strong tribe.
Cochran decides he needs to learn how to open a coconut with a machete, as Savaii tutors him. Ozzy tells us he’s skeptical of Cochran’s physical abilities as Cochran finally gets the coconut open and jokes about how he wants to be a provider. He admits to us that he’s not the strongest guy but he has enough social game to overcome that. He hopes charm and humor is enough to stay around.
At Upolu, Brandon thinks Uncle Russell lacked in the social game. (By the way, Uncle Russell is not happy at the way Brandon has been talking about him, as evidenced by his statements on Twitter. He’s especially unhappy about the “Hitler” comment, and I can’t say I blame him!) He wants to provide food for his tribe and do things his uncle never did. To that end, he brings home the first fish on a spear (looks like they were provided with a lot more stuff than on some seasons). It’s not very big, but it’s a fish!
So how, you might wonder, is Brandon spear fishing without removing his shirt? He has it rolled up so it’s only covering his upper back and shoulders, which is where the tattoos are. He tells us that even with their five-way alliance, he will never reveal who he is. He doesn’t want to be judged according to his uncle’s reputation.
Sophie tells us she feels good about her alliance and that at least a couple of the people in it are really sincere. She’s a bit worried about Brandon, though, because she feels like he’s hiding something. Nah.
Time for the first full challenge! Probst explains it: On go, both tribes will race through zig-zagging pathways and a web of coconuts. They have to work together to get everybody over a ten-foot wall. Then one tribe member will dig a machete out of the sand and use it to chop a series of ropes and release a flood of coconuts. Three tribe members will shoot coconuts into their basket. First tribe to get enough to raise their flag wins immunity and a clue to hidden immunity idol (and Upolu will also win flint if they win).
You know how we always hear Probst tell the tribes that they’ll get a few minutes to strategize, but we almost never actually see them doing so? This time we do, as Coach lays out the best way to do various tasks, like getting people over the wall, and Ozzy also asks who is comfortable doing what tasks. Semhar says she can definitely do the shooting baskets part. Why do I have a feeling this will come up later?
And they’re off! When I mentioned the zig-zagging pathways, I didn’t quite realize they crossed and the tribes would have to essentially crawl through one another. This of course leads to some of what Probst calls “mixing it up” as they push to get by. Upolu gets through the coconuts first, and then to the wall first as well.
Rick and Albert go up on the wall so they can pull people over. Whitney is lifted up, then Edna is manhandled over it. And so on. Upolu is over first and Rick starts digging for the machete. Meanwhile, Savaii has most of their people over. They finish the wall and Ozzy digs in (what, they don’t have Cochran using the machete after that stellar demonstration earlier?). Rick gets the machete first, but only by a couple seconds as Ozzy catches up.
The chopping begins, but Rick is quickly through, so Upolu starts shooting baskets. Ozzy releases his coconuts so Savaii can begin as well. It’s Ozzy, Semhar, and Keith shooting for Savaii, with Albert, Mikayla, and Brandon on Upolu. Remember how I said Semhar’s statements about being able to shoot would be an issue? Yeah, she gets tired really quickly and can’t shoot for sh— um… we’ll just say she can’t shoot well.
Savaii is definitely in the lead, but not by much. The thing is that Upolu has three people who can legitimately score – the woman on their squad is contributing quite a bit. Savaii, on the other hand, has only two, with the woman being completely useless. Indeed, Mikayla makes the final shot and Upolu wins immunity! Oh, and to rub it in, Probst shows that the challenge was so close that one more coconut from Savaii probably would have done it – camera cuts to an absolutely miserable-looking Semhar as she apologizes.
Probst hands Upolu the tribal immunity idol, then tells them about the one hidden at camp. They first have to find a hidden clue and then find the hidden idol. Yes, the producers have made things a bit more difficult this season.
Probst asks Semhar how she’s feeling – exhausted, depressed, what? She feels sort of bad because she didn’t realize how heavy the coconuts would be. Probst calls out Jim for making faces behind Semhar’s back (it’s like we’re at Tribal Council already!) and Jim says if it were him, he’d feel “worse than ‘sort of bad.’” He feels sort of bad when he’s out of milk – he feels like crap now that they have to vote somebody out. Whoa, dude, don’t make yourself a target by overreacting so publicly.
But Jim continues in private, saying he’s pissed – she shot two baskets and wanted a sub (which was not allowed). She was adamant about wanting to do that. She failed. There’s no reason to keep her.
Upolu returns to camp in a much happier mood than after the last challenge (obviously). Coach says two things can happen in the wild – you can die or you can thrive, and this tribe is thriving. Christine, of course, is not happy because, as far as I can tell so far, it’s not among her possible emotions. She says that underneath the celebration, there is an uneasiness because of the immunity idol and it might get ruthless. I’d say she is the one who is uneasy over it, and she’s ascribing her own feelings to everybody else.
Several people start looking for it, so Stacey encourages Christine to do as well. Stacey thinks she’s fooling people by pretending to work while she’s looking. Here’s a clue for you: You’re not. She tells us she’s looked everywhere and probably stumbled over it without knowing it. The cameraman helpfully points out that she did just this, as she looked within the hole of a tree stump but then walked away without realizing it contained exactly what she was looking for. Whoops!
Spirits are lower at Savaii. Semhar comes right out and says she feels awful about losing the challenge (she apparently now feels worse than “sort of bad”) and knows she was a big part of it (I’d go so far as to say the main cause of it). But for Jim to single her out and make faces behind her back when she feels bad means she can’t trust him. Jim continues making faces while she’s saying this (how does he play poker and can’t keep a poker face?!), which only further angers Semhar.
Jim says he felt worse than she did, but she argues that nobody could feel worse than she did. Why did he call her out when she felt bad already? Jim says he doesn’t like to lose, but also notes that since it was behind her back, she didn’t actually see him make faces. All he did was roll his eyes when she said she felt “sort of bad.” She just doesn’t want people to turn on one another so quickly (hello, this is Survivor!) and Jim apologizes if that’s the way it came across. He adds that nobody would deny she gave 100%. (The unspoken part is that if that was her giving 100%, it means she’s pretty damned weak.)
Semhar tells us one thing that may hold her back in this game is that she’s too honest. She either loves you or hates you and you’re going to know which it is. She knows it was wrong to go off on Jim in front of everybody and she also knows she’s not safe.
Another person who isn’t safe? Dawn. But Mark is assuring her that he won’t write her name down. Dawn, however, knows her emotional outburst may be seen as a liability. She’s hoping the tribe will base their votes on today and moving forward, especially with the conflict they’ve seen.
Mark things Semhar deserves to go. She screwed up the challenge that she should not have volunteered to do. That’s the name he’s writing down.
However, Ozzy is not of the same mindset. He’s out in the water with Jim, Keith, Elyse, and Whitney, saying they shouldn’t base the vote on this one challenge. He feels having the three young women is an advantage. Dawn did well also. Ozzy hates to say it, but Cochran is not going to be a strong player. He’s just not athletic.
Ozzy gives Semhar points for stepping up, even if she did follow that by screwing up. Jim, however, says he’d rather have somebody who knows their own limitations. Jim tells us that he knows Ozzy wants Semhar around for a reason (we saw that reason earlier in the episode) and it scares Jim that Ozzy is already fighting so hard for her. Jim worries that Ozzy is already aligned with all the girls. Sure, Semhar has a nice body, but it blows Jim’s mind that such a thing could be factoring in to Ozzy’s million-dollar decision.
Ozzy talks to Semhar, saying he’s on her side and wants her to say, but it’s a hard decision between her and Cochran. If she wants to stay, she needs to do some serious politicking.
And so she begins, talking to Whitney and claiming that Cochran is just “a huge fan of the game but not necessarily playing the game.” Yeah, because Semhar did so well at playing in her challenge role. (Insert one of Jim’s eyerolls here.) Semhar next approaches Keith and he tells her not to worry, he isn’t voting against her.
Meanwhile, Jim tells Cochran where he stands in the game – Ozzy wants him gone. Cochran insists he’s not the weakest, but he’s arguing to the wrong person. He admits to us that his biggest Achilles heel is “crippling insecurity and anxiety.” He’s on high alert and also depressed.
Cochran approaches Mark, who tells him not to get paranoid and that Semhar is going. Jeez, I hope he’s right! Cochran continues to us that it would be “insulting” to be the first one booted on this tribe! But he sure looks nervous about it, and tells Mark that people don’t always like the fun guy. “Survivor’s not meant to be a comedy routine. His dream has turned into a nightmare. He’s already convinced himself that he’s being voted out tonight!
Time for the first Tribal Council. Probst has each player grab a torch and get fire, reminding us all that, in this game, fire represents life – when your fire is out, so are you… except for the Redemption Island thing, of course. Speaking of which, Probst begins by asking Dawn if there has been any talk about whether people can handle being alone at Redemption Island. She says she was wondering who might be prepared for it. It’s hard enough to get shelter, water, fire, etc. with nine people – she can’t imagine going it alone.
Dawn also admits she didn’t even feel like she knew who she was on the first couple days. Everything that’s familiar is gone and she lost a lot of confidence. She admits to crying even though she doesn’t do it at home. She confided in Ozzy to help get an anchor and get her bearings back, but now she’s centered again.
Probst wonders who else might be worried about the vote, and Elyse says Semhar is probably concerned because of the challenge and the conversation once they got back. Probst turns to Jim for a summary of that discussion, and Jim says he’s a competitor and hates losing. She wanted to prove herself and was very confident in her abilities, but the only people who are good losers are those who are good at losing. (I’m thinking at this point, Jim’s tribemates should be doubting the whole “high school teacher” claim.)
Was any part of Whitney glad it wasn’t her? Yes, but Whitney had thought she could do it too, and only didn’t volunteer because Semhar was so vocal in wanting to be the one.
Semhar, playing the role of Jim, is shaking her head in a “no” motion as Whitney talks, so Probst jumps to her. She says she understands the game and knew she’d be safe if she hadn’t stepped up. She takes responsibility for taking on something that was out of her league. (OK, then, encourage them to vote you out – that is taking responsibility.) But she knows she has heart and will give it all she has.
Would Ozzy rather play with someone who has guts and will give it a shot like Semhar did or would sit back and say, “Better you than me”? C’mon, do we really need to hear Ozzy’s answer to this? We already know it. And you’re right – he says he’d rather be with the former.
Who might be another target? Dawn says perhaps Cochran, based just on strength. Semhar nods her head in a “yes” motion now and allows a slight smile to form on her lips. Cochran says he understands the rationale because they look at his glasses, sweater vest, and pale skin, and it’s easy to call him weak (or white and nerdy). But he flew through the net like a hummingbird. He admits he had a momentary snafu at the wall, but didn’t think it was noticeable – he’s corrected on that front.
Papa Bear says Cochran just hesitated momentarily and then they got him over the wall. Cochran wonders if that was fatal and Papa Bear – oh to hell with it, I know he wants to be called that, but now I just feel like I’m recapping a cartoon – Mark says it was not a fatal error.
Does Semhar feel a bit relieved that attention has moved on? She says it is a slight relief that some people see Cochran as a weaker link, but he jumps in to point out that nobody has actually said that. Wow, the spoken word artist vs. the lawyer – two people who know how to form words to use them to maximum advantage. Quite a battle. But Semhar says his name has come up and time – and votes – will tell. Cochran turns to Probst and says he’d better not say, “It is time to vote” right now. Ha!
Probst smiles and says they’ll sit there as long as they want, so Cochran can interject. He says he didn’t want to get to this point yet, but he wants to point out who is working around camp and who isn’t. Then he manages to blank on Semhar’s name in the middle of his speech, then admits that he’s nervous. Anyway, he says she stands by the pot for like ten hours a day and it’s not very strenuous.
Semhar says she makes sure people have toothbrushes – to which Cochran counters that she found a couple sticks. It’s not a huge job. But Semhar just wants to point out that nobody had to ask her to do it. Cochran says she’s making it sound like he wanders around until somebody asks him to get wood. But this is the growing stage and he’s building a knowledge base. He learns something and then does it.
This leads Probst to ask if he’s a learner by nature. Yes, and this is a culmination of 11 years of passion for this game. For there to even be a possibility of being the first one booted is “heartbreaking and mortifying.”
What needs to change in the morning if he survives the vote? He says he’ll do anything he has to do around camp and will their genie in a bottle that they won’t have to even rub. His eyes have opened to the perception of him and he doesn’t think Semhar has that same passion for being part of Survivor.
Semhar thinks that works against him – he’s so mesmerized by the game that he forgets how important it is to be working hard. He counters that it shouldn’t be based on what’s happened so far, but Keith says it has to be. At this point, if I were Cochran, I would then point out that if this is the case, then they must vote out Semhar for her challenge performance! But… he doesn’t do it. Dangit.
Probst says it seems pretty clear that either Semhar or Cochran is going home. With that, it is indeed time to vote. Semhar obviously votes Cochran, saying she’s really sorry but hopefully this will make him step up even more. Um… how will that work if he’s voted out? Cochran returns the favor, saying it’s pretty obvious why he’s voting against her. She’s questioned his intelligence and commitment to the game, and she’s made him question why she should be there any longer. But those are the only two votes we see.
Probst tallies and reads the votes: Cochran, Semhar, Semhar (good), Semhar (better), Semhar (I’m liking the way this is going), Semhar. Yes, Semhar is gone! Well, gone to Redemption Island, that is. After her torch is snuffed and she’s on her way out, Ozzy whispers that he should have taught her how to make a fire. Heh. Cochran leans over and whispers a “thank you” to Dawn.
Probst says it appears they made the decision to believe a person can improve. I think Probst is kidding himself if he thinks this decision – an apparently unanimous one – was made on the spur of the moment at Tribal Council. Besides, if they believed a person could improve, they might have kept Semhar! His words of wisdom this time were not very wise.
Semhar gets to Redemption Island and tells us she’s not so upset at being voted out, but that her tribemates lied to her. It shows her how fake they are (her emphasis). She doesn’t understand how people can be so cold-hearted. Apparently, she’s never watched Survivor before?
Next time: It looks like everybody will be dancing around the maypole. Oh, wait, that’s a challenge where they have to untangle ribbons from a bit post, and Cochran apparently gets caught up. But he reinvents himself as a working machine. Meanwhile, Brandon’s secret weighs heavily on him, so he decides to be honest with Coach – who thinks Brandon has demons.
So, that was quite a first episode! I’m (obviously) glad Cochran survived, but he has some work to do! So far, it seems to me that Ozzy has not done any better of a job of making himself more strategic, but maybe – just maybe – Coach has. Time will tell!
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